My car was sandwiched between two 18-wheelers on the interstate in middle-of-nowhere Georgia on a warm January afternoon when I got a call from a Santa Ana, Calif., number.
But those who have ever driven with me know how poor I am at multi-tasking while I drive.
So an hour later, I found the first of a handful of gas stations between Statesboro (home to Georgia Southern University) and Athens (home to the University of Georgia) and called the number back, only to receive a voicemail message.
But, hey, at least I confirmed that the call was from the Orange County Register, one of the places I most wanted to intern this summer. It seemed almost surreal.
So I continued on my way, mentally distracted and a bit (read: a lot) nervous. I finally got to Athens and met my friend Kendall, a fellow journalist, at the downtown Starbucks.
That’s when I got a call I could actually answer without endangering any lives. And it took everything I had to contain my excitement when I received the internship offer.
Now, nearly six months later, it’s still almost surreal. A drug test and four days of driving (32 hours on the road) stand between me and Irvine, Calif., where I’ll spend the next 10 weeks living as I intern at the Register. There, I’ll be doing what I love: editing.
I’ve been to California twice: once on the obligatory Disneyland/Universal Studios childhood trip and once to tour the University of Southern California, which ended up being one of the finalists for my college choice. (As beautiful as it was, I’m still so glad I chose Mizzou. Sorry, Annenberg.) In total, I’ve been there probably about a week.
And because I grew up in the Southeast with parents from the Northeast and have spent the past two years in the Midwest, I have absolutely no idea what living on the West Coast will be like.
But I’m so excited to find out.
I know I should try to find other words besides “excited” to describe my emotions, but that sums everything up pretty well.
I’m excited to work with the talented editors. I’m excited to learn as much as I can. I’m excited to befriend the other interns and trainees. I’m excited to travel around the area and visit landmarks. I’m excited to spend some quality time at the beach (Google Maps shows Newport Beach as the closest), novels in hand and running shoes in the car.
And, most of all, I’m excited to see what surprises this summer brings.
California, here we come.